American actor and venture capitalist Ashton Kutcher teamed up with San Francisco-based cryptocurrency firm Ripple to surprise daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres with a late birthday present: a $4 million donation to the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund, paid out in XRP.
Kutcher, a co-founder of VC firm Sound Ventures, made the donation on Ripple’s behalf during Wednesday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, explaining that they had concocted the plan during a recent investment meeting.
“So, we were meeting with these folks and [Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse] were talking to us about the ethics of this company and this platform and how they actually really care about being an ethical company and giving a portion of this platform away to people that are doing good in the world,” he said, adding:
“We [told Ripple], there’s this amazing human being and all they ever do is think about other people they can give to. Whether it’s in New Orleans, whether it’s in Montecito, whether it’s the people that come here, the people out there, you’re always thinking about everyone else and we wanted to show you that people are thinking about you.”
Kutcher — who mentioned that Sound Ventures is investing in Ripple — made the transaction on the air using an XRP payment app, highlighting the cryptocurrency’s ability to facilitate near-instant cross-border transactions.
“Now, usually people come out with a big giant check and do the ‘big giant check thing’, but we can transfer it into Rwandan Francs right now right here, and all you need to do is push this button,” he said.
Kutcher has long been bullish on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He has also invested in cryptocurrency payment processor BitPay through A-Grade Investments, a venture fund he co-founded.
Ripple, meanwhile, has donated tens of millions of dollars worth of XRP to non-profit organizations in recent months. As we reported, Ripple was recently featured on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert after the company donated $29 million in XRP to fund all 35,000 classroom projects on educational crowdfunding website DonorsChoose, which was the largest donation that the organization had ever received.